After accompanying my children to the cinema to see the first Harry Potter adaptation, I must admit that I was quite looking forward to spending 2.5 hours in the company of the Hogwarts hosts, and my enthusiasm wasn't un-rewarded. Once again the time flew by far too quickly and my kids were again awestruck by the sheer scale of the deception.
There were shocks and surprises along the way. The first shock was how much Daniel and Rupert have grown since the last film, in looks, height, and confidence. Daniel's lower voice took a few scenes to get used to as well. The biggest surprise was the brilliant portrayal of Gilderoy Lockheart by Kenneth Branagh, who stole every scene he appeared in and brought much of the humor of the books into the script.
Obviously keen to overcome some criticisms of the first film, director Chris Columbus tried to include as many parts of the storyline from the book as he reasonably could in the time and as a consequence the pace never lets up. Fortunately the plot isn't too complicated (unlike the next book) so kids won't have too much trouble keeping up.
Once again excellent performances from the adults and the 3 lead children, Emma Watson settling into the role of Hermione as if she was born to play her. Ruperts facial expressions of fear, whilst funny at first, did start to wear thin towards the end, and Tom Feltons portrayal of Draco was, to be honest, embarrassing, but cut thankfully short.
All in all a thoroughly enjoyable film, better than the first, a little scarier (especially if you are afraid of spiders !) and a must have DVD for your collection when released.